Sunday, November 2, 2008

Your Polling Location Is...

We live in St. Louis, Missouri, the hotbed of presidential (and vice presdential) campaign activity in recent months. No exaggeration, we received seven phone calls yesterday about the election. That's in addition to the 18 direct mail pieces and 15 "Dear Sarah" e-mails in the last week.

What I found very interesting was the microtargeting used in one particular phone call. Whatever your party preference, there was a marked difference between the McCain and Obama phone calls. The robocalls from the RNC instructed me to log on to to find my polling place. Instead of assuming I had internet access, the pre-recorded message from Obama himself was microtargeting our household, providing us with our exact polling location.

The geotargeting of phone calls and online ads, including those within Facebook, show a strategic marketing courtship of voters. On the local level, proponents, or opponents, of Propositions in St. Louis and across the state are using banner and Pay-Per-Click ads to raise awareness of the issues.

While our decision for next Tuesday was not swayed by the calls, multimedia ads or direct mail, there was a clear difference in how we were being marketed. There was a shift in this campaign from traditional radio, TV and direct mail to new media and the customization it can accomodate. Politicians are incorporating creative ways to target voters, just as many B2C companies have been doing for years. Politics is big business and to think otherwise is missing the microtargeting boat.

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